The YOLOstone2014 Project: Social Media in the National Parks

The YOLOstone2014 site and #YOLOstone2014 hashtag are part of a research project on how people use social media in the national parks. This project is formally titled “Social Media in the National Parks,” and is being conducted by a team at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

We are interested in how people use social media while in the parks. We want to know whether social media change the way people use the national parks, how it affects their travel plans, and how visitors interact with the National Park Service and its partners.

We may use the results for scholarly articles and books, for magazine articles, and for informal publications such as blogs. We intend to share publications and reports with the National Park Service, with non-profit associations and museums in the region, and with businesses and chambers of commerce. We will not share our raw data with anyone, however.

This webpage tells you about the project so that you can decide whether to you want to be a part of it. If you decide to participate, all your postings will remain anonymous. We will not use your name, your online identity, or any identifying information about you. We will not attempt to match your account to any other information on the internet.

We will observe two different kinds of postings, public and semi-public.

  1. Public. We will “lurk” in public spaces on the internet to see what people make public. You can tell us to exclude this public information from the study.
  2. Semi-public. We will interact with people on semi-public social media sites. This participation is entirely voluntary. If you would like to participate in the study, you can friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Flickr.

If you are in the Yellowstone Area and you would like us to see what you are posting, please use the #YOLOstone2014 hashtag.




If you would like us to exclude your social media postings from the project, please contact us on a social media site or by email: Professor Robert Pahre, pahre@illinois.edu, or Audrey Neville, acnevil2@illinois.edu We both work in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

You can also email us if you would like to see copies of our publications from this project. We will circulate draft manuscripts to you electronically if you tell us that you would like to see them.Some results will be summarized informally on Professor Pahre’s blog, https://publish.illinois.edu/pahre/ .

#YOLOstone2014 is voluntary

We do not anticipate any harm to you from participating in this project, and there is no cost to you. You may benefit from your interaction with us as you might benefit from contact on social media. You also may benefit if our research helps the National Park Service and its partners better interact with visitors such as you.

If you have any questions or concerns about the project, you may contact Professor Pahre (217-333-2851, pahre@illinois.edu). If you have any questions about your rights as a participant in this study or any concerns or complaints, please contact the University of Illinois Institutional Review Board at 217-333-2670 (collect calls will be accepted if you identify yourself as a research participant) or via email at irb@illinois.edu.

Look for the #YOLOstone hashtag!


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